So gay/So not gay – the entertainment version


Is there such a thing as entertainment
gaydar? Recently I came across an old friend on Facebook, whom
I hadn’t seen in over a decade. Over the years, I’d wondered
if perhaps she was gay — and once she had added me as a friend,
I’ll admit that I clicked over to her profile, curious to see if there
would be anything about her sexual orientation there. While there wasn’t
anything explicitly stated, I did see with interest that she listed
The L Word
as one of her favorite shows, and Brokeback Mountain
and Chasing Amy as two of her favorite movies.

Now, entertainment gaydar,
like any other gaydar, is based on stereotypes — and thus is bound
to be somewhat unreliable. After all, there are plenty of straight people
who like both The L Word and Brokeback Mountain. (And,
actually, I think disliking Chasing Amy is probably a clearer
sign of being a lesbian than liking it.) Nevertheless, this whole episode
got me thinking about what a person’s tastes in entertainment may
or may not say about her sexual orientation. And, using the popular forum thread “I’m so gay/I’m
so not gay” as
an inspiration, I decided to see how my tastes would stack up in the
“stereotypically lesbianish” department.

To start off with the “I’m
so not gay” category (hey, I may as well get the bit that will make
me unpopular out of the way first):

1. I’ll admit it
— I don’t totally get the Tina Fey thing.

The fact that scribegrrrl,
Dorothy Snarker, and Sarah Warn are all fans is enough to
convince me that I must be missing something here — and who knows,
maybe one day I will see the light. But I’ve seen 30 Rock,
and the thing that amused me most about it was Alec Baldwin.
(Who, whatever else he may or may not be, is definitively not lesbianish.)

2. I don’t watch
The L Word.

The women on The L Word
may be gay, but I’ve discovered that that, in and of itself,
isn’t enough to make me identify with or deeply care about them. A
little good writing goes an awfully long way.

3. I think

Desert Hearts is a snooze-fest.

I get that it was hugely important
— particulary in 1985 — to see a movie where the women weren’t punished
or stigmatized for being lesbians. And I do think that Patricia Charbonneau’s
character is kind of cute. But to me, it’s almost like the filmmaker
was so caught up with showing Vivian and Cay as normal, healthy characters,
that she forgot to have anything much actually happen to them. The fact
that they fall in love, while great, is not really enough
to sustain a 96-minute movie.

4. I don’t — gulp
— actually find Ellen DeGeneres that funny.

On her old sitcom, yes. In
her Phone Call to God, genius. And — forgetting about
comedy for a moment and talking in terms of courage and integrity —
definitely. But when it comes to her current talk show, or her Oscars
hosting … well, truthfully: not so much.

5. Xena who?

I have never seen a single
episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. There, I said it.

Now, in the “I’m so gay”

1. Mariska and Katee are

In real life, I am vehemently
anti-gun, but one second of seeing Mariska Hargitay in Law
and Order: SVU
(cropped hair, long coat, tough as hell and weapon
at the ready) was enough to show me where her, um, ardent lesbian fanbase
comes from. Ditto one picture of Katee Sackhoff
in Bionic Woman.

2. I love watching Jodie
Foster, Kristy McNichol, Ellen Page, and Jo from
The Facts of Life.

Sigh. If only Family
had been shown on U.K. television when I was a teenager. I think I would
have come out instantly, just in the hopes that Kristy would wear a
tux and take me to the prom.

Bring It On made me gay(er).

Missy Pantone, you are truly
dykedelic. (Also in the “movies that made me gay” category, see
Girl, Interrupted

4. Lesbian subtext rules.

Yes, I will get interested
in an otherwise worthless program (Gossip Girl, I’m looking
at you), just because it seems like it might feature a little … extra
chemistry between the female leads.

5. No, I can’t take a

So, I confess — the militant
humorless stereotype is kind of true for me. I will even get annoyed
with my beloved Jon Stewart — despite all the pro-gay
points he has earned
over the years — if he makes a crack that I think is anti-gay or just

Are your tastes in entertainment
so gay, or so not gay, or a little of both?

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